Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates.
The most challenging and inspiring read. Has changed the way I read the newspapers and the way I see... well... everything. Very important and a very great read funny in places and genuinely jaw droppingly shocking in others. Needs to become compulsory reading in all schools and universities.
What the **** is Normal? by Francesca Martinez.
This book, by the brilliant Francesca Martinez - in one quick and brilliant read - removed the fear for ever of anyone I know having a 'disabled' baby. Pretty amazing achievement for a book. Oh and it's funny too.
The Film Club by David Gilmour
A father pulls his son (who hates school) out of school and decides to home educate him by asking him to watch films of his father's choice and then talk about them to him (or not) wonderful - a very easy read and you don't have to know anything about film to enjoy this. Should be compulsory reading for fathers... especially those that have kids that are failing in the current education system.
I have the privilege of knowing Shu - so that may have enhanced my enjoyment of this book but I think I would have loved it anyway. A Chinese film and documentary maker decides to spend a year living in Gyantse - which I visited when I traveled in Tibet. She wins the trust and friendship of the local Tibetan community (very easy unless you are Chinese) and learns about their culture and sees for herself what Tibetans have to live with. A wonderful book - which I highly recommend. Sad too of course - but then you'd have guessed that much. Makes you want to go to Gyantse and stay.
A Year in Tibet by Sun Shuyun
The Islamist; Why I joined radical Islam in Britain, what I saw inside and why I left by Ed Husain
This is not only a brilliant explanation of how gentle God fearing Muslims are turned into angry and murderous fanatics it is also very readable (I was so gripped that I read it in 3 days) and, ultimately, inspiring and touching. Husain writes about the person that he was when he hated all non Muslims, and the person that he is now with the greatest honesty and humility. It was a privilege to spend three days listening to this story. We all need to understand what is happening in the UK and how it is happening.. then we need to find a way to play a part in reversing it.
As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela: Underground Adventures in the Arms and Torture Trade. By Mark Thomas
Naive? I was. Gullible? I was. I had NO IDEA what our Government gets up to, that the UK is the second biggest arms dealer in the world or of the levels of corruption and lack of even basic ethics that sometimes (or should I say 'Frequently' Mark?) occur at Westminster. All this and he's funny too.
True Notebooks by Mark Saltzman
Another of my Favourite non-fiction writer, this time based in the US, teaches creative writing to young offenders.
Hard to decide whether to cry for the young men or laugh with joy for the wonder of Mark's work and perseverance
Utopian Dreams by Tobias Jones
Just when we were all about to despair... along came Tobias Jones with a book about the need for community. This book is erudite, wise, lucid, clever, humble and very important; a profound joy and a complete relief. Here is someone expressing what we are all thinking, sorting out the confusion, and offering a way out of the mess we're all in. If you have ever dreamed of selling up and going to live in a community... read this first.
Will Storr vs The Supernatural by Will Storr
Best piece of narrative non-fiction since 'The Game.' Utterly brilliant - intelligent, compelling (it ruined my weekend as I just didn't want to put it down) genuinely scary and, I believe, very important piece of writing - Fan Bloody Tastic. And if you don't believe in ghosts before you start you probably will by the end.
Don't read it is you are of nervous disposition and live alone. Really!